An Alaska sailing is a dream vacation for many travelers. Just imagine waking up in your stateroom surrounded by stunning views and wildlife, then stepping off your ship to explore small fishing villages and icy glaciers.
After enjoying the morning and afternoon on land, retreat to the ship for a relaxing evening swapping stories with other passengers about the day's events and mingling about your next destination.
So, if a cruise to Last Frontier is in your travel plans, you should consider sailing with Holland America: Here are five reasons why.
There are two embarkation/disembarkation ports to choose from.
Guests sailing with Holland America can choose to start and end their trip in Seattle, Washington, or Vancouver, Canada. Both are easily accessible. Both destinations are home to plenty of hotels, and many of them provide transportation to the port.
Keep in mind that all itineraries, regardless of where they depart from, visit picturesque towns and villages like Juneau, Sitka, and Ketchikan. Cruisers can also enjoy scenic sailing through the Inside Passage and Glacier Bay.
Guests can combine a land and sea vacation.
If you want to extend your time in Alaska, consider one of Holland America's Land and Sea Cruisetours. Denali Cruisetours last anywhere from eight to 13 nights and offer a traditional cruise experience -- along with air, bus, and railway travel. The bucket-list-worthy trip affords guests the opportunity to spend several nights at McKinley Chalet Resort, which is just steps away from Denali National Park and Preserve entrance.
For an even more immersive Alaska adventure, opt for a Denali and Yukon Cruisetours. These sailings range from eight to 17 nights in length. In addition to touring Denali, you'll be able to retrace Gold Rush history and partake in a wilderness tour through the Yukon. Transportation between Anchorage and Denali is available via the McKinley Explorer.
Cruisers can partake in traditional and cultural port excursions.
There will be plenty of opportunities to explore the towns and villages dotting the Alaska coastline throughout your cruise. While you could spend hours researching port excursions through third-party providers, don't waste your time. Holland America has plenty of tours and port excursions to choose from.
For a more traditional excursion, consider a tour through historic Sitka. This area of Alaska has been occupied by Native Americans, Russians, and European Colonists, which means the town has a colorful history. During the tour, you'll be able to stop at the Sheldon Jackson Museum, which boasts the oldest collection of Native and Inuit artifacts in all of Alaska. You'll also drive past the Russian Bishop's home and the Russian Blockhouse. The final stop of the tour is Centennial Hall, where you can watch the New Archangel Dancers perform traditional Russian dances.
Whale watching is something everyone wants to do in Alaska, and you can do so from the comfort of a luxury catamaran. The three-and-a-half-hour excursion offers the chance to spot these majestic creatures up close and personal. The tour is hosted by an expert naturalist who can help you spot other wildlife like humpback whales, sea lions, killer whales, and bald eagles.
Onboard dining is influenced by local Alaskan cuisine.
If you embark on a Holland America cruise to Alaska, you can expect authentic onboard eats inspired by local Alaskan and Pacific Northwest cuisine. Around the ship, you'll find dishes like seared pink salmon, dairy products made by local cheesemakers, and craft beer from Alaskan Brewing Company.
You'll be sailing with Alaska experts.
Throughout the cruise, you'll be joined by experts who know Alaska better than anyone. When the ship sails through Glacier Bay, a ranger for the National Park Service is on board to point out highlights and answer questions about the area. Members of the Huna Totem tribe will also be on board to share stories about the bay, which is part of their spiritual homeland. You'll also be able to listen in on in-depth conversations led by the experts at Exploration Central. The keynote speakers can provide more information about the destinations you'll be visiting upon disembarking in port.
A few extra tips for cruising with Holland America to Alaska:
Consider a May or September sailing. If you're looking to cut down on the number of children onboard, you'll want to set sail in May or September. This is also the best time to go salmon fishing, which is a popular excursion offered by the cruise line.
Consider booking a balcony room. The upper decks can get crowded as you pass by some of the sights. However, if your stateroom is equipped with its own balcony, you'll be able to take in all of the scenery from the comfort and privacy of your room.
Study the ports before you leave home. Check out the highlights in each port by doing a little research and figuring out what you want to do ahead of time. This also means booking shore excursions or tours early.
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